Rebellion is a deliberate defiance and opposition to authority, and it often leads to confrontation and suffering. It is especially hard for parents and families when they have a rebellious child, as their heart breaks for the poor decisions that their children are making. Whether it is a child, a teenager or an adult child, their words and actions impact the people around them. These decisions will effect the rest of their lives, so included here in this article are my top 7 Bible verses for a rebellious child.
Proverbs 20:11 “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.”
God’s word is so relevant in every situation, and this is so true when discussing a rebellious child. Wise King Solomon wrote this verse describing how a child’s actions will define who he is and how he is accepted. If a young person acts with purity and an upright heart, then he will be seen as joy and a blessing. However, if a child chooses disobedience and defiance, then he will be labeled as rebellious and difficult.
Proverbs 29:15 “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
There are many reasons why a child might be oppositional and resistant to those in authority. Some of these reasons might be due to neglect, poor parenting or even abuse, and these are all tragic situations for a child to have to endure. This verse confirms that a child should not be left to his own devices, because he cannot raise himself and he will bring shame to his mother and father. Children need love, supervision, caring, and discipline in order to grow in favor with God and man.
Proverbs 22:15 “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”
The natural state of man is to sin, so there is a propensity for rebellion in each and every one of us. Like Solomon explains here, we all have folly bound up in our hearts as children (and even as adults), so we need discipline to push us in the right direction. Proverbs 22:15 goes on to elaborate even more by saying, “do not withhold discipline from a rebellious child.” So correction and discipline are a necessity in correcting rebellious attitudes and actions, especially in children.
Deuteronomy 11:19 “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
Another way to correct and counteract a defiant child is to teach them God’s word. Like it says here in the book of Deuteronomy, teach your child about God and his love and his laws that are always meant for our good, as you are spending time together. Whether walking or driving or resting at home, it is always important to share the truths of God’s word with our children, so that it becomes a part of who they are. The Lord’s truth will combat sin and rebelliousness in all of us.
Ecclesiastes 12:1 “ Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them.”
Life can sometimes be very hard, as we face various trials and challenges on a daily basis. This is true for children and young people as well, so this verse reminds us all that we should always focus our lives on God and his will for us. The earlier we turn our hearts over to him, the more problems and pitfalls we are likely to avoid. As it states at the end of this same chapter, “the end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14). Our actions have consequences, so the Lord encourages us to choose wisely.
Mark 12:30 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
I believe that this is a great verse for a rebellious child, because it shows us exactly how we can combat a defiant and disobedient heart. When we love God with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength, there is no room left for insurrection to lift its ugly head in our lives. Focusing our attention on the Lord, will release us from the pull of sin. The Lord is quick to forgive us our sins, when we repent and turn back to him.
Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”
Finally, in order to stop a rebellious child, it is most important that they realize that obeying their parents is not only a commandment, but it is also pleasing to the Lord. He doesn’t want to shame young people, but rather his desire is to admonish them as his beloved children (I Corinthians 4:14). God is calling us to greater things than what the world offers, and he encourages all of us to seek wisdom and love him with all of our hearts.
Finally remember parents, it’s more about relationship with your child than it is about laying down the law. Following the rules is expected, but by overstating their necessity you will most likely see only an outward display while the heart has not changed. By having a true relationship, your child’s behavior is most likely based on an inner, heartfelt, desire based on their love for you. It often seems that young people don’t realize the consequences of their decisions, so they make poor choices without regard for their future. I heard recently that “decisions have descendants,” and I believe that this is so appropriate in this case. Rebellion and parental defiance will have negative consequences both now and in the future, and it is imperative that children realize that now before it is too late. God loves them (and us) so much, and he wants to give us a bright hope and a future without baggage or scars to weigh us down.